Free HIV Testing Ends, However HIV Warning Remains - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/29/05

Free HIV Testing Ends, However HIV Warning Remains

LISD junior high and high school students remain under an HIV alert. Health officials issued the warning on March 11th after a junior high student in Lubbock County with HIV was reportedly having unprotected sex. Since the alert, more than 50 students have taken advantage of free HIV testing clinics. The free testing ended Tuesday, but the alert has been a hot topic of conversation.

3/11/05
HIV Case Prompts Alert in Lubbock Schools
LISD and Lubbock health departments have issued an alert to all junior high and high school students and their parents. They are investigating reports that a junior high student infected with HIV is having sex with other students.

Lubbock Health Department statistics show alerts of this nature in the past have resulted in a decrease of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies. Coronado High School students who spoke with NewsChannel 11 said everyone is talking about HIV and STD's, but not everyone is taking precaution.

One Coronado student said students are now taking more precautions because "Knowing you could get it really easy and that it's going around and you don't know who has it or what."

That's just one student talking about the recent HIV alert and its startling statistics. Almost 950,000 eople in the US have HIV, over 180,000 don't know they're infected. In Lubbock County, around 590 people between the ages of 19 and 40 are living with HIV. The health department says it was only a matter of time before it spread to a younger demographic.

Public Health Coordinator, Tigi Ward explains, "Sexual activity is starting younger and younger in our youth. So it's unfortunate, but at some point in time someone would've become infected."

However, some students still aren't concerned. One student said, "I've never thought about it that much, and I actually haven't heard much about it. I heard something about it at Cooper or Frenship."

Others say if they practice abstinence, they will be okay. "It kind of scares me, but it's nothing to worry about, really, "said another student. "Because if you just don't have sex you won't get it, I guess."

Many students say the case puts a local personal touch on a worldwide epidemic, causing them to understand the importance of testing. "I really think people should be tested for it. So they know if they have it or not so they don't spread it," said one student.

Free HIV testing clinics are over, but the Lubbock Health Department still offers STD testing for a small fee. For $10, you can get tested for not only HIV, but for syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. Again, testing is anonymous. For appointment or walk-in times, call (806) 775-2933.

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